Sunday, 17 March 2013

Wanderlust (2012)

I looked forward to Wanderlust a comedy about a young couple who decide to escape from city life in New York and experience a Commune in Georgia because of publicity that it treated commune life with affection. I was not disappointed.  The couple are persuaded to buy a micro loft in New York after much hesitation on the part of the husband and through creative selling by the estate agent and when I say micro I mean micro. The husband is expected to find promotion only to learn the company has collapsed while his wife is preparing to sell a documentary to HBO which they then reject. Both out of work they find they are in negative equity losing their savings deposit.


The solution is to accept the offer from the husband’s brother of accommodation and board while they attempt to rebuild their working careers and this involves a long car journey. Becoming tired the wife presses her husband to stop for the night and seeing the sign for a hotel bed and breakfast they follow only to come across a naked man which caused them to turn the car upside down. They take a room at the hotel but cannot sleep from noise in the living room, investigate and discover the hotel is a commercial side of a commune of some very interesting people. The following morning the car is righted and they continue their journey although invited to join the commune.


After finding that the hospitality offered by the brother is full of resentment especially from the brother’s wife the couple decide to try the commune but also have second thoughts when “free love” becomes a big issue and the couple are pursued by members wanting a relationship with them but they decline.


No sooner have they commenced to settle than they find the commune is under threat because developers of a Casino have discovered that the commune does not appear to have title deeds to the estate and attempt to move in. One of  the group is certain they do have  the deeds  which cannot be found and the wife, Linda take as a lead in stopping entry on the site by “flashing” which attracts media attention and establishes her position within  the commune as a leader. This only incites one of the members into wanting Linda more and he issues an ultimatum to the couple to participate in free love or leave, Linda who has found her true nature wants to stay and starts a sexual relationship with one the member Seth. George, the husband continues not to be happy with becoming sexually involved with someone else and leaves to return to the home of his brother.


Seth the new partner of Linda is so taken with her that on searching and finding the property deed, instead of rescuing the commune sells it to the property developers as a means of breaking up the commune so he and Linda can have a separate life together, Fortunately this treason is witnessed by a child member who tells Linda who forces Seth to admit what he has done and his motivation which she rejects.


George realises that instead of running away he should have stayed and attempted to win Linda over again, comes back and fights Seth while the rest of the community adopt a non violent interventionist approach.


One of the members of the group is discovered to have written a political thriller which the couple publish setting up their own company for the purpose and this provides a new role for the couple and income for the Commune who are able to fend off the developers after one of the original founders of the Commune has kept a copy of the title deeds.


As a young man I had a little experience of commune life visiting a small one in Wales and having contact with two small community/shared houses in London as well as participating in a peace camp and several peace marches and where contrary to popular mythology, finding new and better ways for people to live together and share in a non violent way was the motivating and governing principle. However relationships between people, especially young people have always and will always prove difficult for some more than others, especially when the pressures of earning and family life come to the fore and the commune cab become a negative power base for individuals as much as in any military dictatorship or commercial business. This was the subject of a second film about Commune Life and its impact on individuals in Martha Marcy May Marlene



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